Brainstorms and Raves

Notes on Web Design, Development, Standards, Typography, Music, and More

Mon

17

DEC

2001

WaSP Taking a Break to Recharge

After three years of incredibly hard work that has proven to be well worth the effort, the Web Standards Project is taking a much deserved break.

There was initially a bit of a misunderstanding around the Web community shortly after WaSP posted the news about taking a "gentle leave of absence," thinking that they were quitting and not just taking a break. Jeffrey Zeldman, WaSP’s main voice, tried to clarify the situation, posting at his weblog that they’re just taking a break. And this morning an article was published at CNN about the break, too: Founders of the Web Standards Project take a hiatus.

All along I have been incredibly thankful for WaSP’s efforts and have wholeheartedly supported their substantial accomplishments in helping to bring about browser standards. I mentioned to a friend in an e-mail that I’d feel like the rug had been pulled out from under me if they ceased to exist. I truly feel that strongly about their role and purpose.

Perhaps the browser companies would have eventually come around to making more standards-compliant browsers. Perhaps the software companies would have eventually started to make editors to create standards-compliant markup. But how long would it have taken? And what would be the state of things down the road if they finally came around without WaSP working so hard to bring the matter to their attention? I suspect we’d all be sitting here today with a very different dilemma with creating Web sites than we do right now, including being forced to create at least two or three versions of each Web site.

While I’ve been appreciative all along and make lots of noise about them here, in discussion lists, and elsewhere, it especially hit me how much I rely on their existence every single day with my own business in Web design and development. I shudder to think where we’d be without them (what a nightmare).

At the same time, I continue to be amazed and even shocked with how a few have sorely misunderstood what WaSP is all about, what they’ve done for the Web, for designers and developers, for browser users, for companies, and this entire industry. I hope this latest publicity will help bring some further attention to help those who don’t know much about WaSP or who misunderstand to read the information at their site and see what they’re really trying to accomplish (and have accomplished already). As their site says,

“Browser makers are no longer the problem. The problem lies with designers and developers chained to the browser?quirk?oriented markup of the 1990s--often because they don?t realize it is possible to support current standards while accommodating old browsers.”

It’s up to us to try to help educate others about what’s truly possible and that it’s detrimental to continue to use all the hacks and workarounds we got so used to doing to try to make sites look absolutely identical, especially for Netscape 4 browsers and others that aren’t standards compliant.

WaSP also states that they’ll be "launching new initiatives and a new site in the coming year." Sign me up.... I’m there.

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More posts about WaSP and Web standards archives

11:25 am, pst17 December, 2001 Comments, Trackbacks ·

Categories: Browsers, Design, Development, Standards

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